Vernon was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.
Walter and I were excited about our annual Halloween Campout. We had the truck unloaded at the trailhead by 10a.m. Friday morning.
It rained on us while we packed in. We stacked our gear at camp and covered it with tarps.
We rewarded ourselves for our diligence with a short mushroom foray before setting up camp.
Andy arrived with Oreo shortly after our foray.
We covered the wickiup with tarps and hung a Dutch oven full of taco things to warm while we put up the tipi.
There were a couple of old poles that had never been skinned. Andy insisted we peel them before we set up the tipi.
With the poles peeled and the stack made,we lifted the cover into place.
I laced up the front of the cover.
It stopped raining and the sun came out. Andy pegged down the cover and we were ready to move into our home for the weekend.
Mike dropped by for a drink after lunch. It was a short visit, after which we had the camp to ourselves. For a moment…
We had hot dogs and beans out in the wickiup for dinner.
When it got dark out we retired to the tipi.
Luke Winslow surprised us by showing up a day early.
We were pleased to see him, but Walter doesn’t like surprises. He hid behind my pack and spent the rest of the weekend barking at Luke.
Sunrise reaches the tipi Saturday morning.
Saturday morninng tea.
After mushroom hash for Saturday breakfast, we ranged through the woods foraging for mushrooms.
We found a few chanterelles.
There were various coral mushrooms.
… and beautiful but deadly Amanitas
We took a break for lunch. Luke made us a wonderful chowder with fresh chanterelles and lobster mushrooms.
I don’t know how much credit Andy deserves for finding this humungous Sparassis. He stumbled across it on his way back from the latrine.
Adding to the heap after lunch.
Saturday afternoon we carved Jack O’Lanterns,,,
….and chatted companionably around the fire.
The glowing pumpkins warned the haints away from our camp.
Jack kept watch over our camp with a smoldering glare.
We spent the evening sitting around the fire in the wickiup.
Dinner required three Dutch ovens to cook.
I seared some pork over the fire for the chili.
I had prepared a pie crust at home, which I filled in camp with pumpkin pie mix, condensed milk and a beaten egg. The pie went in the bottom oven.
I poured cornbread batter into a hot, buttered Dutch oven with hot coals beneath and more coals on the lid.
Soon the wickiup was filled with delicious aromas.
We waited as patiently as we could while dinner cooked.
Finally it was time to dish up…
And of course, fresh, hot pumpkin pie and whipped cream for desert.
Luke risked branding his testicles using a flip iron to heat an after dinner drinks.
We drank and chatted under the wickiup.
It began to get chilly; Andy took a shoveful of embers into the tipi to warm up the lodge for the night.
My brother soon had a roaring fire going inside.
I added a splash of something to our hot nightcap..
Soon enough we were ready for bed.
Luke was the last to turn in. He kept the fire burning all night.
The heavy meal for dinner and the late night drinking caused me a restless night, requiring several trips outside to piss and crap. My last trip to the latrine was just before dawn. It was still black. My flashlight died, leaving me to find my way to the latrine in the dark. While I was there an unearthly wail pierced the night leaving me somewhat unnerved, alone in the dark. Silence returned and I made my way back to the lodge. where my dog and companions were awake but somehow not inclined to come out to see if I needed help. Halloween is like that sometimes.
The sun had been up for some time before we left the tipi again.
It was a brisk mornig we arose to.
Andy prepared our morning repast..
A mushroom breakfast scramble.
It was another very pleasant day in camp. We didn’t rush packing up.
Andy managed to find a beautiful bolete not far from camp.
We had a pretty nice collection to divi up at the end of the weekend.
We had left over pumpkin pie for lunc
We had already packed our dishes, but that didn’t get in our way.
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